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Hearing loss doesn’t just mean someone needs to turn up the TV or ask “Can you repeat that?” It has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia.

mind gamesHearing loss doesn’t just mean someone needs to turn up the TV or ask “Can you repeat that?” It has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia. The latest aging research conducted by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine not only shows the two are connected, the idea is also leading scientists to believe that untreated hearing loss, with its social isolation and communication difficulties, may actually be a factor that leads to dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other cognitive abilities. Currently, around 6.2 million Americans over age 65 are living with Alzheimers; the most common form of dementia. Like dementia, hearing loss also affects millions of Americans. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other communication disorders, 25% of adults between 65 and 74, and 50% 75 years and older have hearing loss.
 
In another 2020 study by the Lancet Commission, research revealed that untreated hearing loss was the number one modifiable risk factor in delaying or preventing dementia cases. This means that hearing loss may be responsible for 800,000 of the nearly 10 million new cases of dementia diagnosed each year.

“The Lancet article published in 2020 has shed light on the importance of early detection and treatment of hearing loss. By treating hearing loss with hearing aids you are able to better connect with others, maintain positive relationships, and increase neural stimulation in the auditory centers of the brain. These actions protect the brain from cognitive decline,” says Holly Ralston, audiologist at Midwest ENT & Allergy.

Ralston goes on to say that hearing aids not only improve your quality of life, they serve as a safeguard for your mental and cognitive processes.

So, what can you do to be pro-active on this? Ralston recommends that like blood pressure, cholesterol and eye prescriptions, people should have their hearing checked and seek treatment as soon as possible. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, it is important not to delay a hearing evaluation. Early detection and treatment of hearing helps solve the problem easier and quicker compared to those who wait until the problem is severe. 
 
Midwest ENT & Allergy often offers free hearing screening events. Their highly trained audiologists check a base-line hearing projection and visit with you about your hearing health. You may call to check for upcoming screening events! The new technology in digital hearing aids is phenomenal and ever-advancing. Midwest ENT & Allergy also offers free sound demonstrations of Earlens - The Worlds Only Hearing Lens. Earlens is a hearing solution in which a custom lens vibrates the eardrum for optimum hearing results. It provides broader bandwidth then traditional hearing aids, leading to even more stimulation of the neural pathways in the the brain.

Though a hearing aid can’t cure dementia, it can provide the missing stimulation to the brain to keep it active and hopefully lesson your chances of developing it.

by Virginia Olson – Sioux Falls Woman Magazine

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010